Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sensory Overload

It’s been a few days since our last bog and with good reason. With a poor outlook for surf we headed up North to what is said to be the best wave in Morocco, in hope of finding more swell. We were greeted with 3-foot waves but not amazing surf. Our wondering minds of what lay ahead for us in Marrakech our last port of call for the trip, got the better of us and we hit the road, totally oblivious to what we where about to experience
After 15 years of travel I can honestly say Marrakech is the most amazing city I have had the privilege of experiencing with my own eyes. All of us were completely blown away by this colourful maze at the top of Africa. It was to say the least, a complete sensory overload, a place where words play no part and only images can possibly describe it . You need at least a week to scratch the surface of this place, we had a day and got to work immediately.
Just outside Marrakech lie the Atlas Mountains aliened with snow. We shot up there first thing in the morning and believe it or not; we all enjoyed a 2-hour snowboard session. I think this is the only place in Africa where you are surfing the one day and 5 hours later you are carving down the mountain on a snowboard. Truly amazing.Frankie and Shaun were stoked!
Broken and tired we charged back down the windy mountain pass with the hope of catching the Golden light to shoot some scenes in and around the market square and deep within the alleyways of the Souks for the film and the book. Greg and myself barely had a spare minute to breath as we combed the markets and alleyways searching for portraits and scenes that capture the vibrancy of this incredible city.
9pm that night, with a ton of incredible images in the bank, it was time to put the camera’s down and blend into the market to enjoy a traditional Moroccan meal, sip on a few beers and reflect on what was possibly one of the most incredible days you could ever wish for. Below is a taste enjoy...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Driving Miss Daisy

Today was an absolute mission for surf, with a lot of the swell too big for the reefs and the wind too sideshore for the points. We spent most of the day driving, picking off a few nice lifestyle shots along the way.

We ended up back at the spot we’ve been calling ‘Trestles’ for another late afternoon surf just before the sun went down. Met up with a long-time friend of mine, Ross Elliot from England, who drowned his key and his car was basically immobilized as a result – and all this in probably the dodgiest ghetto area in this part of Morocco. The carpark emptied out and three of us decided to wait with him for the rental car company to bring him a replacement key. More than two hours later and no sign of them. By this time a crew of local kids had gathered around the car. As the minutes ticked away the crowd outside grew steadily, with things getting heavier as hands started to grope inside the car, with one guy trying to pickpocket Ross’ phone and wallet.

We were picked up by his friend just in time, right about the time things were getting a little too hot, and found ourselves at the dodgiest police station in Morocco. Anyway, all was well at the end of the night, with the moral of the story being: don’t surf with an electronic key.

The realities of travelling through Africa definitely presented themselves to us tonight.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

And the swell, she came

As predicted, a new swell hit the coast early this morning and we were at Boats by first light. Unfortunately, and as is often the case with new swells, the direction of the first of the lines was just a little wide for the points up north. There were some good 6 to 8 foot sets coming in, and the boys dropped into a couple of bombs at Anchor Point – but they were a little flat faced and hard to surf.

Frankie broke two boards in as many surfs, Shaun boosted some fins out the back and Rudy, back on his own equipment, laid it on the rail. All in all, though, it was a pretty unrewarding day in terms of footage as the waves were just a little too flat on the face to allow for the kind of surfing I want to showcase in the film.

On a more positive note, I got to get in the water today and share a couple of waves with the boys on sunset – just another day in the office. Let’s hope the swell straightens itself out and we get some clips in the bag tomorrow.

Above is a shot of Frankie unleashing just before he snapped a board.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Looking North

Today was another slow one for waves. We checked the slab early but it was not doing its thing, so Denny suggested a spot up north that might be worth a look. We piled everything in two 4x4’s and headed out into serious off-road territory. At the end of a trek across drier, more deserted terrain than we had seen thus far was nothing but small, onshore and unexciting surf. Nonetheless, the journey itself was worth it simply because we got to see a new part of the area, as well as a large herd of camels grazing on leaves by the roadside.

We returned to the slab which, even though it was not really barreling, offered up a few air sections which the boys cut loose in before we headed off to a beach cafĂ© for a coffee and chocolate crepe. We  rounded off the night with another classic meal courtesy of Mohammed, the chef at Moroccan Surf Adventures.

On another positive note, after 6 frustrating days of borrowing clothes and equipment, Rudy’s boards and bags arrived on sunset – and luckily for us, just in time for tomorrow’s 3 meter swell which looks set to light up all the points in the vicinity.

Down time

As we say, “there’s no rush in Africa” and after four days of incredible waves we decided to take that approach this morning. We hit the road around 10:30 hoping to get the slab but after sitting through the low tide and with the swell just too big and just off direction, we headed back, checking each point in turn. There were waves but after what we’d had in the last few days the boys decided to surf a mellow beachie while myself and Greg went to shoot some lifestyle around Tamraght, our local village.

Going through the alleyways and narrow streets around sunset with the calls of the mosque echoing around us really allowed us to step away from the surfing side of this country and capture the essence of authentic Moroccan living. The afternoon light here is really something to behold.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Why so much surf?

Today Denny took us to a secret spot down south – a left and right breaking reef he found exploring a while back. And again we scored, making it four for four. The spot was absolutely going off in both directions and with the tide on its way in the conditions became really rippable. All the boys killing it and Greg Ewing and I shot some stuff from the land before I went to shoot in the water.

I can’t believe how much surf this place gets. Either we’ve just been incredibly lucky every day, or this really is an incredible spot that anyone who loves long right-handers and the occasional left should come visit.

We’re all absolutely broken tired right now and from looking at the forecast, we’re going to get a foot larger swell tomorrow. It just doesn’t stop…

Go to if you want to score some of these spots for yourself.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lefts..? In Morocco..?

We headed off to the slab this morning and to our surprise the swell had actually jacked quite a bit and it was just way too big for it. Our guides reckoned that there was a spot just up the road that sometimes works on a big swell so we went to give it a look… And there in front of us was an 8-10 foot barreling lefts – in Morocco, the land of right-handers.

The boys gave it a go and there were a few big drops and some big pits, but we had just missed the tide and with that much water moving around the session was over before too long.

Denny and Abdullah ( then took us to a full-on local spot that is kind of under the radar – and we absolutely scored! This spot was like a Moroccan version of Lower Trestles with incredibly fun and rippable rights peeling their way down the sand and reef bottom. The guys put on quite a show for the stoked groms on the beach, and the locals were especially stoked when Shaun gave them a board he snapped landing an air-reverse.

Smiles all round, cooking waves, and it’s only day 3. This place is amazing…

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The swell just keeps coming

Morocco is all about the pointbreaks, sure, but today we got to sample one of the lesser-surfed slabs in the area. Our guides took us to the spot at just the right tide and Frankie, Rudy and Shaun all got shacked. The swell was supposed to drop through the day, but it just kept rolling in and we ended up surfing Boilers again this afternoon – more fun at a Moroccan right hand point.

Conditions are looking good to catch the slab working again tomorrow, and with a new swell set to come in around mid-day it looks like it’s going to be another good one. What originally looked like a small, slow conditions for the beginning of the trip has turned out to be non-stop surf all day so far. Here’s a pic of Rudy getting one.

See you again tomorrow.

You've been delayed

We finally arrived at our destination here in Morocco at 4am this morning, some eight hours behind schedule. Thanks to an air traffic controller strike in France, our plane was delayed in Madrid for most of the day, eventually making it to Marrakech airport at 10:30pm. We were met by our driver, Muhammad, who promptly took us on the minibus ride from hell: the road between Marrakech and Agadir is regarded as one of the worst stretches in the country. Large trucks pass each other at high speed regardless of corners or blind rises, with each driver showing little concern for whatever might be happening in the oncoming lane. It was a nerve-wracking experience that some of the guys were fortunate enough to sleep through, but I got the full experience due to not being able to sleep at all on the 4-hour drive.

After meeting  up with Denny from Moroccan Surf Adventures ( were in bed shortly after 4, and then woken up only two hours later to go looking for waves. Below is a shot of what greeted us for the day. You gotta love Africa...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It begins...

Greetings to all and welcome to the official blog of the Africa Film Project. Over the coming months you’ll be able to stay up to date with what’s happening with the movie, where we’re filming, how the trips are going, and everything else we feel you should know leading up to the release of the film.

But what is the Africa Film Project? Well, once we had finished The Path – our last movie, shot in Hawaii – the obvious question was ‘what next?’. Indonesia, the Maldives, Fiji and similar places have been done countless times so we wanted to try something different, but that also interested us. I'd always been intrigued by Africa’s surfing potential, but for the whole of my twenties I traveled the rest of the world with the idea that because Africa is home, it can be traveled anytime. Now after 10 years on the road and having permanently moved back home, there is no better time to check out Africa and all it has to offer. Our continent has never really been documented in-depth from a surfers point of view, so the project is going to offer something genuinely new and unique The world needs to know what an amazing continent we have, with so much history, rich and diverse cultures, incredible waves and of course a wealth of talented surfers rising onto the world stage. All these things mixed together are the perfect ingredients for an incredible film project which will span a full two years.

So, Africa just seemed right... As we say, “where the path ends, the journey begins”. The Africa Film Project is our next journey following on from The Path, and will take you to all 4 corners of our unique and exceptional continent. Joining me are some good friends and colleagues who share my passion and vision. On a filming side Eldon Van Aswegen my partner at Whitestone Productions and on a stills side senior photographer on the project Greg Ewing heads up the crew along with Caleb Bjergfelt, Richard Johnson and Alan Van Gysen. Stoked to have these guys on board so lookout for their images in Zigzag Surfing Magazine who are the media partner and distributor for the film.

Below is little insight into what we have experienced so far. Watch this space as we head off to Morocco later toady and will be updating you along the way. I hope you enjoy it.

Jason Hearn – 13th January 2010

The Africa Project Intro Teaser

South West Africa Trailer

West Coast, South Africa Gallery